Washington’s Controversial Local $15 Minimum Wage Debacle
We aren’t seeing a lot of career jobs these days, and many service related jobs are “hot seats” in that people are moved through them like a revolving door. The clerk you know at RadioShack who has been there for three years probably won’t be there for five years. But if he does stay for five years, he’s already hit his maximum pay without a promotion. At least this would have been my own case had I stayed with my previous employer (Not RadioShack) where in five years I would still only be paid 10:50/hr as maximum pay without promotion. Get this: Maximum rates will only increase if the minimum wage exceeds the max amount possible of paying, which means that now a new worker at the same store will hit peak at three years. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to live on wages under $15/ hour so I know where the activists are coming from, but we need a different solution. What I do think is that this is a notable way for the public to reach out and say, “hey! bring back the living wage!”
Prices from twenty years ago have inflated in some cases nearly 300% but our wages have increased in dollar to penny increments. Back in 1989, when I was born, my parents bought a high-end rambler in Shoreline at $160,000+/- which now has inflated to around $390,000 but the mortgage should only be worth $210,000 when we sold it in 2001. Remember gas prices in 2001? Yeah, we’ll look at pictures back then and think, “wow, that’s from the 1980’s or something.” But no, prices per gallon of gas were on average $1.80 in 2001.
The thing is, rumor has it that the economy is coming back. The housing bubble has shrunk, and gas prices are falling. But I think I have a reason why this is happening. When you learn how the unemployment rate is determined you will find holes in truths we are told. The unemployment rate is based on a sample population which surveys a particular number. But you can read more about it here: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm
Unemployment is a huge part of the system, keeping people employed means money is flowing from underneath the companies that supply goods and services. What business will tell us is that goods are being sold, goals are being met. But now RadioShack, as I mentioned earlier, took a major toll as many of its stores stood empty during Holiday season. In fact, I was surprised this last Christmas that I could find parking rather easily around shopping centers and malls. Tell me when that ever happens, and why it’s important to shop early. What I am saying is that there are signs which tell us the contrary to the truth we hear from media officials but I’m not calling them liars. I am saying that truth has several layers, and no one person can see through all of them. In some cases, yes, the housing market is doing better. But coming from a close relative who is a Realtor, the market is coming back because foreclosed and short-sale houses have finally come down in price. This means that houses, like in Dori Monson’s commercial about “How Short Am I” is the reality: Houses and condos are down 30%, 40%, and in some cases 60%. So the market for these houses are booming because a $170,000 house is now worth $109,000.
In theory, and back to the main point, raising the minimum wage considerably would not hurt the economy. More money in the hands of your general consumer means more goods are purchased and people will be comfortable taking out safe loans at fair interest rates. Interest rates increase when payments are falling short. So I agree with this movement, at least in the part that more employers need to decide how to implement living-wage career positions within companies. But there is another variable that needs attention, and people often overlook this reality as well. Back when the baby boomers were born after WW2, “Nuclear Families” were having an excess of anywhere from three to seven children per household, and then at least four of those children grew up and had families of three to four each, and then at least 2 to 3 of those children grew up to have another 3 to 4 children. But if you draw a map like a family tree with values in numbers, you’ll see how the current generation (born 1985-1995) far exceed the children born during the Baby Boomer days. Next, of course, people are getting older, longer. Pensions are now being cut from companies because the expectation when pensions were created had more to do with the expected mortality rate of the average population, which was around age 60 to 70. So if someone retired at age 55 when pensions were made, the company would only need to support this pension perhaps five to ten years. And now, we are seeing a more common trend of elderly folk living past age 99, and in some cases healthy enough to work up to age 89. (As we know, one Senator who is finally retiring this year maybe is in his 90’s)
So an increased minimum wage has quite the pickle to chew. We can’t just up-the-anty and throw money around willy-nilly. Economists are split between “the system will fix itself,” and “the system is broken and will die soon” but there is a better solution. If we can’t just increase the wage and ask corporations to hire more people, then maybe we need another New Deal. Or maybe we do need an economic overhaul to adapt to the substantial amount of debt that weighs over the increasing profit margin. I’m no economist, but I do handle my books well and good.
Here are some general footnotes I’ve come up with to make this a more reasonable situation:
Dot) Keep the $15/hour increase, but only for companies who’s profits exceed a certain number. Let me crunch some numbers really quickly. Per month, a worker who is employed full time at 40 hours per week, 80 hours per cheque, paid twice per month, will make around $2,400 per month, thus 28,800 annually, not including taxes, medical, etc. Basically, if a company employs around 20 workers, they are worth at minimum, $576,000 per year. I am guesstimating with benefits and applicable fees, this looks more like $610,000 +/-. My results of course are not including employees that are above this pay range, but let me show you the numbers for the remainder counties who have the basic minimum wage of $9.32/hour. Per month, the average full time worker will make $1,491.20 per month, and $17,894.40 per year. See the difference per worker is nearly $10,000 per year, and that’s around $200,000 saved for every 20 minimum wage crews. Some, not all, companies can contain these numbers and thrive. They should be applicable to this wage.
Dot) The Government should provide incentives for companies to hire career-level employees rather than hiring abroad for its workforce. I’ve heard this new saying in American manufacturing that goes back to the 50’s era that “The American worker is lazy, and expects more from his Nation.” This in general is not true, it is true that Americans want to be paid at a similar rate as to how inflation persists but as long as the living wage is implemented, all that is required by a company is positive support. Boeing is fantastic for this (unless you’re a young machinist losing your pension, you might not agree) and offers a good wage and keeps good workers around, and supports them emotionally. Too many employers open minimum wage positions and treat their employees like shit – because it’s a revolving door. Boeing, like many mega-companies doesn’t keep a revolving door for its employees whom it trusts with building the hundreds of airplanes expected to be safe for 30 years.
Dot) We might look at our economical and banking system to see if it really holds up to the new social expectations. I personally don’t feel that it is promising for our society to have a debt-based economy especially when we don’t know a true number for the unemployment rate. I don’t think we really count the true number of homeless or unemployed people, I think it’s an impossible venture for sure. But also we have more people than jobs exist – you might not believe me, and perhaps you’ll say “well what about the people who have given up looking for work?” I’m glad this question is asked, because I can answer in earnest a calculated answer for my unemployment. In 2013 I lost my job and in that year I must have applied for at least four hundred jobs, online and indoors, and I only had three interviews. Three. Four hundred applications. Three interviews. Zero hires. I tried temp agencies, they didn’t have work. I tried Craigslist Jobs, but everyone wants at least 5 years experience for an entry-level position. Tell me how that makes sense? And then there is the final ultimatum. Make your own job. I created business plans for three potential options: Gun Store, Pot Shop (as per the new Marijuana Laws), and online retailer of metal trinkets and ornaments. All but one option yet has failed, and I can’t find time in my schedule to produce the number of stock required to sell online yet (which is my problem currently.) But this situation is not just my own, it is plaguing thousands of people across the whole nation, if not hundreds of thousands across the globe. Greece, Venezuela, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, and a dozen other nations’ people are uprising against the raising costs of living without modest pay to keep up with the motion of the ocean. (Or dictators, lots of dictators.)
Any way, as always, I’m open for commentary and discussion. But don’t give me the one-liners. A reply without thought is a worthless waste of your time and mine. I’m bored of writing at the moment.
Necessary sources and information:
Unemployment stuff from 2013: